The last week has been a reminder to all Utah residents that we need to be prepared for earthquakes. Thankfully our most recent tremors did not result in any serious injuries but it definitely puts our individual preparedness at the forefront of our minds.
Whether you are a homeowner or a business owner, you have probably wondered if you need earthquake insurance.
Many home and business owners are under the false impression that their regular insurance policy covers earthquakes. However, an earthquake is considered to be an Act of God which according to investopedia.com an Act of God is “an uncontrollable event, such as tornadoes, not caused nor controlled by humans.” They go on to say that:
Insurance companies often limit or exclude coverage for Acts of God.
Acts of God do not absolve people from a duty to exercise reasonable care.
Policyholders should review their policy for coverages and exclusions pertaining to acts of God.
If you do have earthquake insurance, it is important to understand what it does and does not cover. J. Morey Insurance states that an earthquake policy will provide coverage for:
- Loss of use (additional living expenses while the building is being repaired; i.e. hotel or rental home expenses, food & utility expenses)
- Personal property
- Property repairs and building code upgrades for homeowners and condo owners
- Business Equipment/Business Personal Property
- Lost income
- Ongoing expenses (i.e. wages/salaries, mortgage/lease, payments, etc.)
- Optional contents coverage (i.e. valuable papers and records, electronic data processing)
Earthquake insurance often has extremely high deductibles as well, so it is important to make sure you understand exactly what is being covered and what your out of pocket costs will be if you have to file a claim with your insurance company.
In the rare event that you are injured on someone else’s property as a direct result of an earthquake, it is important to speak with a personal injury attorney. It is difficult to point to liability in a case involving an Act of God but there are several circumstances where property owners may have liability. A personal injury attorney can help you to determine if you have a case. If you or someone you know has been injured in an earthquake, contact our office for a FREE consultation.